How to Optimize Your YouTube Videos and Channel

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Kostas Kostalampros
Kostas Kostalampros
How to Optimize Your YouTube Videos and Channel

YouTube is currently the second largest search engine after Google. Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month, while over four billion hours of video are being watched each month. More and more companies and marketers have started delving into this new online marketing tool that undoubtedly all these years has charmed both consumers and businesses. Briefly, some of the advantages YouTube transfers to all these businesses that make use of it include:

  • The low cost of advertising, in contrast to conventional TV ads
  • The ease of YouTube integration with the company’s main website and other social media
  • The facilitation of content marketing strategies as YouTube itself is able to stand beside row text and provide a richer taste of the promoted product or service

Of course, the advantages do not end up here, and they could take a long time to be unrolled. Particularly, in this post, I will try to analyze the various factors that YouTube takes into account in order to rank its videos. It’s absolutely clear that the algorithmic complexity YouTube uses to attribute weight to each video and then display it in a predefined order is not as much advanced as the one Google has built all these years to index the entire World Wide Web.

Nevertheless, throughout this post, I will highlight the most significant elements for both YouTube channels and individual videos, which have to be taken under consideration in order to make able for businesses to gain high YouTube rankings.

How YouTube rank videos?

It is good to have a first taste on how YouTube ranks its videos. In fact, there is no clear evidence on how YouTube ranks the videos but the next four factors seem to be the dominants for the achievement of high rankings:

  1. Number of views
  2. Video Title
  3. Video Description
  4. Video Rating (likes, dislikes)

Keyword Research

YouTube keyword research is a vital part of YouTube optimization. Before we start explaining each of the particular video and channel elements it is fundamental to conduct a keyword research similar to the one all online marketers and SEOs do for the purposes of a website.

Therefore, the keyword research will be able to identify all these keywords that best match to the video and can be included in the video title and description. YouTube keyword tool is the best tool to show the search volume of keywords and make suggestions in new keywords (

Video Elements

To begin with, when a video is about to be uploaded it is better to include relevant keywords into its filename rather than keep it ambiguous, for example

In addition, the YouTube video title, description, category, captions, and annotations are significant parts in the video optimization process, and their effective use is able to boost video rankings to the top of the results.

Video Title

The title of the video should not exceed 70 characters, and it should include relevant keywords linking to the content. This ensures that the entire video title will be shown up in search results. In addition, it needs to be descriptive so it can be easily search for, and finally compelling enough to encourage people to watch it.

Video Description

The description of the video should not exceed 160 characters in order to be entirely shown up in search results. Otherwise, when description needs to be larger and more informative, compelling short text should be added in the beginning of the description. A link to the website should be added in the first line of the description as well, and relevant keywords should be included in the text.


A YouTube video can belong to one of several categories. The category to be picked up should be relevant to the video content. The categories include:

  • Autos & Vehicles
  • Comedy
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Film & Animation
  • Gaming
  • How-to & Style
  • Music
  • News & Politics
  • Nonprofits & Activism
  • People & Blogs
  • Pets & Animals
  • Science & Technology
  • Sports
  • Travel & Events


By using captions marketers will maximize the ability for Google to understand what’s on the video and as a result to improve SEO rankings. It is also a powerful way to enable disabled people and people for other countries to understand the video content.

As YouTube support website indicates:

“YouTube Experimental speech recognition technology to provide machine generated captions or ‘auto-captions.’ Although they are not perfect, auto-captions help make video content accessible to deaf and hearing impaired users.”

Click into this link to find out more information about YouTube video captions.


Video Annotations is a new way to add interactive commentary to videos. The biggest problem with them is that not many businesses have come up with a clever way of using them, no business has thought of a way to make them look professional or make them useful to users and viewers. It is a very simple and effective way to make your video content look sharp to your viewing audience.

Simply, the way touse annotations is by:

  • Adding background information about the video
  • Creating stories with multiple possibilities (viewers click to choose the next scene)
  • Linking to related YouTube videos, channels, or search results from within a video

By linking to other videos in a series, subscribers will be encouraged to sign up for business services, and more generally to spend longer time on a brand’s content. Annotations are suggested to remain on the screen at least for several seconds.

Channel Elements

Creating, building, and maintaining your own channel is a great way to share content with your audience and promote your business products or services. Because a channel page is your public face on YouTube, you want to customize your channel as much as possible.

Ideally, you want to make your YouTube channel page look like your website in terms of colors and graphics. The next sections thoroughly explain all the different features of a YouTube channel for businesses.

About Section & Social Profiles

A short text should tell users everything about the channel and what they could expect to find in there. Links to all the social profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) should be included in the channel page, as well. Up to 20 URLs of your choice along with custom titles can be displayed for each channel. If the website has a favicon, the sidebar will display the favicon next to the linked text. If no favicon is available, the sidebar will display a globe icon.

By integrating your different social media accounts, a more thorough image of your brand’s social presence will be available for your channel visitors to explore and interact with them.

Featured Playlists & Other Channels

Featured playlists are groups of YouTube videos which channel administrators are able to customize. Users can subscribe to a playlist so whenever you add a new video to that certain playlist, subscribers will see the updates in the subscription bar of the YouTube’s main page. Playlists do not have to be your own videos, thus any YouTube video can be added to a playlist no matter who it is from.

The channel info area on the right hand side of the page holds an optional space for a business to showcase other channels. You can add whatever channel you think users may be interested in.

Getting more views and boost engagement

Apart from the on-page improvements in regard to your business YouTube channel and videos, other ways could also assist in the promotion of your YouTube activities. By embedding every video on your main business website, video views will be boosted and further on-site discovery will be encouraged.

Also, by posting your YouTube videos on your Facebook fan page, fans will be continuously stay updated with regard to your YouTube new video releases, without having to visit the YouTube website separately. Therefore, more views will be achieved and video content will engage the viewers with the brand more effectively.

Now, it is time and space for your thoughts regarding proven tactics that have boosted your YouTube videos on the top of the results. Comments time!

Kostas Kostalampros

Kostas Kostalampros

Kostas is an Inbound Marketing enthusiast mostly dealing with Search Engine Optimization and Content Marketing. He is editor in chief ... [Read full bio]